Two things have always been strong and constant in me, weakness and pride. I’ve always been small but I’ve always believed that if my will power was strong enough I could do anything, ‘anything’ in this case only falling slightly short of flying by sheer will power.
My small size never was brought home to me by circumstances so I understood that I was ruling the world through awesomeness. I was fast, witty, I learned easily, I spoke easily, my health was good, I was really good at reading, people told me I was beautiful and I easily believed them, my family was happy (in my eyes) and well respected. My circumstances were perfect, I was perfect, and I gracefully accepted the accolade.
Only one thing crept in to rankle my pride. About the same time that I was responsible to get my own school completed for the day I realized that I was too lazy to keep myself on task. Far from making me humble, this realization was only a minor blot in my perfect record of self-willed accomplishments and I was sure I could conquer it.
I was really young, not much older than 10, and looking back two things astound me. First that such a young person could be so confident and second that I really thought that my own will shaped my life.
Between then and now, things have only gone downhill, honestly. It turns out that the laziness I noticed in myself was the first symptom of health problems that worsened for about 9 years before they were noticed. In the mean time I was consumed with guilt, while constantly promising myself and God that I would do better.
I didn’t do better. I was guilty through my school years, floundered through high school and still maintain that what I did do for high school was well below the minimum. Today, my family is broken and my health is bad. I can still learn easily but forget even more easily. To use the word ‘fast’ to describe anything about me will bring genuine laughter. I can seldom think quickly enough to be witty, and more often than not, I can’t remember the word I need just to finish the sentence I started. People still tell me I’m beautiful but they almost as often assume that I have an eating disorder. I can still read; I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.
These are the things I placed my pride in. When those things that I was proud of failed me you would think humility might have had a better chance but pride will easily change from gloating to self pity before it will leave room for humility. Not to say that I haven’t learned humility, because I have, and I have loved to learn it.
Humility is not realizing that I am nothing, but rather that I have nothing, nothing besides Jesus that is. I have learned to accept whatever He is pleased to give me whether I would call it weakness or strength. He was satisfied with this lesson of acceptance until yesterday. Yesterday, He upped the ante.
He said, “You’ve been asking for My power all year. Do you even know what power is? Who taught you to distinguish between strength and weakness? My power and your weakness are inseparable. I’ve made you weak and you’ve accepted it but if I told you that your weakness is My power would you believe Me and thank me for it?”
Because I’m stuck being a human and a baby my first response is always, “Cruelty!” In fact, though I’m not calling Him cruel anymore I’m still considering . . . my option. This is too big for me to do. I must rely on His strength and power even in the simple choice to be thankful.
Which reminds me of something else He taught me this year. To admit weakness and ask for help is not a demand for attention but an action of humility. I don't understand this. But the truth persists being itself in spite of how I feel about it.
I feel like I'd like to lock myself in a room and cry for years instead of move forward in the face of these truths. I would in fact, except that Jesus carries me forward even when it feels more like He's dragging me on. You might think that I have a choice but I don't. The life inside me would be picking the lock from the inside even while I was trying to cry in the corner. The only thing more miserable and impossible than believing Him is trying not to.